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The Social Setting of the Ministry as Reflected in the Writings of Hermas, Clement and Ignatius

By Harry O. Maier
Subjects Religion
Series Studies in Christianity and Judaism Hide Details
Paperback : 9780889204119, 240 pages, November 2002
Ebook (PDF) : 9780889207172, 240 pages, January 2006

Table of contents

Table of Contents for The Social Setting of the Ministry as Reflected in the Writings of Hermas, Clement, and Ignatius by Harry O. Maier
A Topic with a Long History
The Early Ministry and the Household: A House-Church Trajectory
The Methodology
The Strategy
Chapter One: The Household in the Ancient World
The Traditional Graeco-Roman Household
The Household and Mystery Religions and Foreign Cults, Philosophical Schools, Associations, and Jewish Synagogues
Chapter Two: The Pauline Epistles
Part One: The Genuie Pauline Epistles
The Early Pauline Church as Sectarian
The Household Context of the Christian Sect
House-Church Leadership
Part Two: The Pseudonymous Pauline Epistles
Colossian and Ephesians
The Pastoral Epistles
Chapter Three: The Shepherd of Hermas
Purpose of the Work
Relation between the Church and the World
Ethics and Separation from the World
Chapter Four: I Clement
The Setting of the Corinthian Dispute
I Clement and Sect Development
Chapter Five: Ignatius
The Social Setting of the Ignatian Epistles
Charisma in the Ignatian Epistles
Ignatius and Community-Protecting Charisma
Chapter Six: Epilogue
Edition of Primary Sources
Secondary Sources


Focussing on three first- and early-second-century documents (the Shepherd of Hermas, 1 Clement and the Ignatian epistles), this work contributes to a growing body of literature concerned with the social setting of early Christianity. Maier argues that the development of structures of leadership in the early Christian church is best accounted for by reference to the hospitality, patronage, and leadership of wealthy hosts who invited local Christian groups to meet in their homes. Sociological models and types are employed to analyze the tensions that arose from excesses of patronage and leadership by the well-to-do.
Recognizing the socio-economic setting of these conflicts corrects the interpretation of early Christian conflicts over the ministry as purely theological and doctrinali.


The book is well written and well of its strengths is the summary of scholarship on every main point. This is done smoothly, not tediously.

- Carolyn Osiek, R.S.C.J. Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly